Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[kur-chif, -cheef] /ˈkɜr tʃɪf, -tʃif/
a woman's square scarf worn as a covering for the head or sometimes the shoulders.
Origin of kerchief
1250-1300; Middle English kerchef, syncopated variant of keverchef < Old French cuevrechef literally, (it) covers (the) head. See cover, chief
Related forms
kerchiefed, kerchieft, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for kerchief
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The kerchief is made of fine Brussels net and the darning is done with India floss.

    The Art of Modern Lace Making The Butterick Publishing Co.
  • Flemild stood struck with astonishment, her kerchief half off her head.

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • When the child is taken out of the warm water, its body must be dried with a kerchief of fine cotton, unhemmed.

    Tales of Old Japan Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford
  • The points of the kerchief she wore on her head were like two horns.

    Jewish Children Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich
  • The kerchief, crossed over her breast, but open at the neck, afforded a ravishing glimpse of her beautiful throat.

    Woven with the Ship Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • I said, turning; for the kerchief which had fallen from Charmion's neck had an awkward look.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • The lady should have waved her kerchief in token of a tryst and cantered down the path to meet her cavalier.

    The Bastonnais John Lesperance
  • She held out her hand for the kerchief, but he did not move.

    Crooked Trails and Straight William MacLeod Raine
  • Sir Richard's face was black with ire, as he staunched the blood that covered his forehead with his kerchief.

British Dictionary definitions for kerchief


a piece of cloth worn tied over the head or around the neck
Derived Forms
kerchiefed, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cuevrechef, from covrir to cover + chef head; see chief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for kerchief

early 14c., curchef, earlier kovrechief (early 13c.), from Anglo-French courchief, Old French couvrechief, literally "cover head," from couvrir "to cover" (see cover) + chief "head" (see chief).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for kerchief

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for kerchief

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for kerchief